Why Do I Pull Iron Shots? Causes And Cures

In this article and video, Katie Dawkins looks at why golfers pull iron shots and offers some helpful tips

Why do I pull iron shots?
(Image credit: Future)

If you are pulling your iron shots they are going left of target (for right-handers) and staying left. It’s important to say this is not a curving ball flight, it’s a straight one. This is down to an out-to-in swing path where your arms are swinging the club across the target line, sending the ball straight left. 

Why Do I Pull irons Shots? Video

This can be down to a number of flaws… Firstly the ball position is likely too far forward - this causes the shoulders to be open. Your arms will then just swing along this line. This forward ball position (shown in the image below) can often see the club face being closed at address. The club face will dictate where the ball starts so this needs fixing asap. 

A forward ball position can play havoc with your shoulder alignment

A ball position that's too far forward can cause the dreaded pull shot

(Image credit: Future)

Often if you’re pulling the ball the body just isn’t working as it should and the result is that the arms throw the club over the top of the target line. So break it down - hit some half shots where you are rotating your body through impact and transferring your weight towards the target in the through swing. Feel like you are turning through. Thinking of the golf swing as two turns (one back, one through) is a great thought to give good rhythm and encourage the bigger muscles to drive the swing.

A simple and very effective way to do this is to focus on your finish position. Concentrate on swinging through to a full finish position and hold it (as if someone is taking a photo of you). Without having to become too technical, you should be able to develop better weight distribution and more effective rotation.

Place your head over a club head outside the target line

Try this simple drill to stop pulling the ball

(Image credit: Future)

A great range drill utilises your driver headcover. Place it down on the outside of the target line about a club head away from the ball. The simple aim is to hit the ball without making contact with the headcover. The best part about this is you get immediate feedback, if your angle of attack is from outside the target, you’ll whack it. So you cannot get away with this one. 

You subconsciously avoid the head over resulting in straighter shots

The goal is to miss the headcover

(Image credit: Future)

If you're struggling with not using your body enough during the swing, it is worth considering sessions with a golf fitness guru to address any physical limitations you might have. Improving your lower body strength will help you to straighten up your shots as your swing gets initiated from the ground up (instead of with the arms from the top). Get squatting!

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth Golf Club she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.